Karot hydropower project the pride of CPEC | By Naveed Aman Khan


Karot hydropower project the pride of CPEC

THE Karot Hydropower Project is a concrete-core rockfill gravity large dam in Pakistan, with a planned installed capacity of 720 MW. The project is sponsored by Chinese state-owned company China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG). The first investment project of the Silk Road Fund is part of the much larger China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The plant was completed in April 2022. The Karot Hydropower Project is planned on Jhelum River near Karot village, some 1.7 kilometres upstream of Karot Bridge and 74 km upstream of Mangla Dam. The project site is accessible through the Islamabad-Kahuta-Kotli road, approximately 29 kilometres from Kahuta and 65 kilometres from Islamabad.

The major project features include construction of concrete gravity 95.5 meters high dam with a crest length of 320 meters near the village of Gohra. The dam’s reservoir will be approximately 164.5 million cubic meters in volume, with a length of 27 kilometres. As many as 72 homes and 58 businesses are expected to require relocation as a result of construction, while 2.8 kilometres of the Karot-Kotli road, and 8.9 kilometres of the Azad Pattan-Kahuta road will need relocation. The power intake structure will be constructed on the right bank of the river immediately upstream of the dam site and will divert the water into headrace tunnels entering into Cavern Powerhouse. The water will be discharged back to River Jhelum through a tail-race channel located at the right bank of the River Jhelum immediately downstream of Karot village. The dam will generate an average annual energy 3,436 GWh, and will connect to Pakistan’s national electricity grid.

SMEC International (Pvt) Ltd participated as Employer’s Engineer, who provided services for project management, design review and construction supervision for 720 MW Karot hydropower project. The project is developed by Karot Power Company comprising “Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited”, a subsidiary of “China Three Gorges Corporation”, China-CTGC and Associated Technologies of Pakistan. Total cost of the project was estimated to be $2 billion and is funded by International Finance Corporation, China’s Silk Road Fund. The Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank have issued loans to the Karot Power Company. It is built on a “Build-Own-Operate-Transfer” basis for 30 years, after which ownership will be turned over to the Government of Pakistan. The Company will run and maintain the project for 30 years at a levelised tariff of 7.57 cents per unit after which it will be transferred to the Punjab government at a notional price of one rupee.

Located on the Jhelum River, the project, with a total installed capacity of 720 megawatts, is a major project on energy cooperation under the CPEC and the first large-scale hydropower investment venture. The Karot hydropower project, the first hydropower tie-up developed by the China “Three Gorges Corp” under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has started commercial operation. The hydroelectric power plant, which started construction in April of 2015, is expected to generate some 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year and will provide stable and cheap energy to Pakistan to meet the demand of electricity of roughly five million residents. The Karot hydropower project in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province is the fourth stage of the five cascade hydropower stations planned for the Jhelum River.

It is estimated that the project will reduce CO2 emissions by around 3.5 million tons per year, foster the global push for carbon neutrality, make new contributions to dealing with global climate change and effectively alleviate Pakistan’s power shortage. This project can provide more than 4,500 direct and indirect local jobs each year. During the construction of the project the construction company provided scholarships for more than 20 public welfare projects such as schools, hospitals and roads for local communities, to promote development of surrounding communities. The CPEC is a major pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is also a significant platform for bilateral comprehensive and pragmatic cooperation that holds the principles of greenness, openness and integrity and it is committed to fulfilling the goals of sustainability, improving people’s livelihood and aiming for high standards. “The China Three Gorges Corp” has provided infrastructure such as clean energy supply to more than 40 countries and regions around the world, with a total overseas installed capacity of about 18 million kilowatts.

The wind does not always blow in the direction that the sailor wishes. Only through united efforts can the people move hand in hand towards a better future. Such worthy projects change the economic and social status of the region and put positive and long lasting impact on the society.  For more than seven decades, we have joined hands in forging ahead through trials and hardships, fostering an iron-clad friendship. Despite ever-changing international situations, CTG continues to follow the road of openness and win-win cooperation, jointly building a cooperation platform with Pakistan to share the fruits of cooperation, so that the achievements made in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative benefit the Pakistani people more and more. On the face of the rampant pandemic, the company has joined hands with the Pakistani people to help each other over the difficulties, by which the people have been in closer connection, with the China-Pakistan friendship higher than the mountain, deeper than the sea and sweeter than honey sublimating in the process of common development and playing a role in building a community of shared future in Asia.